It may only be the League Cup but ask pretty much any Evertonian and they’ll tell you how important winning a trophy is to the club.
Both Manchester City and Chelsea first lifted the League Cup as they attempted to disrupt in the past couple of decades and as the only major domestic honour that Everton haven’t won, you can bet the Blues have their eyes on silverware here.
But who will Carlo Ancelotti pick for this quarter-final tie that falls slap bang in the middle of the busy festive period?
Well, James Rodriguez, Lucas Digne, Fabian Delph and Allan have all been ruled out of this one. There’s been no word if Andre Gomes has recovered from a knock that saw him miss out on the weekend win over Arsenal, while Carlo has said the club are being extra cautious with Jean-Phillippe Gbamin, who is back in training after a 15-month injury lay-off.
Tactics and Formation
The key thing to note here is that Carlo said he intends to pick his strongest eleven for this tie and – one would assume – that will be something like the team that beat Arsenal at the weekend.
It would be a surprise to see him disrupt the back four that has looked solid of late, so it will be sitting full-backs in the form of Mason Holgate and Ben Godfrey again.
There are only two real questions in terms of starting players: 1) will Tom Davies keep his place, and 2) will Carlo prefer Pickford or Olsen between the sticks?
Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)
Jordan Pickford – 7/10
Toss-up between Pickford and Olsen for this one. Would give the edge to Pickford considering his good record saving penalties and considering the realistic prospect this could be settled in a shoot-out.
Mason Holgate - 9/10
Ben Godfrey - 9/10
Michael Keane – 9/10
Yerry Mina - 8/10
Abdoulaye Doucoure – 8/10
Tom Davies – 6/10
Andre Gomes may also come in if he’s recovered from the knock that saw him miss out at the weekend.
Alex Iwobi – 8/10
Gylfi Sigurdsson – 8/10
Richarlison – 9/10
Dominic Calvert-Lewin – 9/10
Andre Gomes – Niels Nkounkou or Jonjoe Kenny will make the bench if Gomes isn’t fit yet.